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Collection Summary
Administrative Information
Scope and Content Note
Biographical Note
Container List
John Henry Hopkins Sr.
Charles Jerome Hopkins
Legal Records
Newspaper Clippings
Rock Point

Hopkins and Canfield Families Papers

Collection Summary

University of Vermont, Bailey/Howe Library, Special Collections
Hopkins Family
Canfield Family
Canfield, Thomas Hawley, 1822-1897
Hopkins, Jerome, 1836-1898
Hopkins, John H. (John Henry), 1820-1891
Hopkins, John Henry, 1792-1868
Hopkins and Canfield Families Papers
8.5 Linear feet
The Hopkins and Canfield Families Papers contain correspondence, John Henry Hopkins Sr. materials, Charles Jerome Hopkins materials, Hopkinsfolk genealogical materials, family legal records, memorabilia, music, newspaper clippings, photographs, materials about the family and church property at Rock Point in Burlington, VT, writings by various family members, and books owned by family members. These materials range in date from around 1790 to around 1960, and they document the church and other professional activities of John Henry Hopkins, Sr., the first Episcopal Bishop of Vermont, the musical activities of C. Jerome Hopkins, as well as the private and professional lives of various members of the Hopkins and Canfield families.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

 University of Vermont, Bailey/Howe Library, Special Collections 2012-02-14 

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Biographical Note

John Henry Hopkins

Artist, lawyer, ironmonger, muscian, architect, theologian and first Episcopal Bishop of Vermont, John Henry Hopkins was born in Dublin, Ireland on January 22, 1792. Raised in Philadelphia, Hopkins tried a variety of professions before accepting the position of rector at Trinity Church in Pittsburgh. Elected Bishop by Vermont's first diocesan convention in 1832, Hopkins remained head of the Green Mountain episcopate until his death in 1868. In those thirty-six years he established the Vermont Episcopal Institute in Burlington and became one of the nation's most noted clergypersons, with more than fifty books and pamphlets published between 1833 and 1868. He endured dramatic reversals in fortune, losing a great deal of wealth in the "Panic of 1837," culminating in his arrest for outstanding debt in 1854. From this low point, however, he rebuilt his finances through writing, lecturing, and projects such as being made the consulting architect and landscape artist for the new University of the South in Tennessee, 1859-1860. In addition to the Vermont Episcopal Institute at Rock Point in Burlington, Vermont, his lasting legacy is as the Episcopal Bishop most responsible for maintaining the unity of the Episcopal Church after the Civil War. This he accomplished in part by maintaining a controversially tolerant view of the institution of slavery in the U.S., which he defends in his small book "Views of Slavery", 1864.

Jerome Hopkins

Charles Jerome Hopkins (known intimately as Charlie and professionally as Jerome) was the eleventh child born to John Henry and Melusina Muller Hopkins. He was born April 4, 1836 and died November 4, 1898. He was educated at home and became a well known organist, composer, and musical educator and essayist. He married Sarah Lucinda Lee in 1869, who died October 23, 1876. They had no children. He lived and worked most of his life in New York, City, where he was organist at St. Ann's Church, Brooklyn, as well as holding other positions. He also lived for some time in England. Jerome Hopkins organized and maintained his Free Orpheon Choral School for Children. His many compositions include an opera, "Samuel", a children's comic operetta "Taffy and Old Munch", and an Orchestral Vespers Service Service.

Hopkins Family

In addition to John Henry Hopkings, Sr. and Jerome Hopkins (see their specific biographical notes), the Hopkins family had many prominent members represented in this collection.

Melusina Muller was born May 15, 1795, in Hamburg, Germany. Her family immigrated to Baltimore when Napolean occupied Hamburg, where her father was a merchant, in 1807. She met John Henry Hopkins while moving to Pennsylvania, and they were married in 1816. They had 13 children, all but two survived to adulthood. Their names and dates are as follows: Charlotte Emily Hopkins (Fay), 1817-1856; Matilda Theresa Hopkins (Camp), 1891-1903; John Henry Hopkins, Jr., 1820-1891; Edward Augustus Hopkins, 1822-1891; Melusina Elizabeth Hopkins, 1824-1834; Caspar Thomas Hopkins, 1826-1893; Theodore Austin Hopkins, 1828-1889; Alfred Irenaeus Hopkins, 1829-1830; Clement Eusebius Hopkins, 1832-1862; William Cyprian Hopkins, 1834-1910; Charles Jerome Hopkins, 1836-1898; Caroline Amelia Hopkins (Canfield, 1838-1907; and Frederick Vincent Hopkins, 1839-1896. A couple of these are more represented in this collection and their lives are now summarized.

John Henry Hopkins, Jr. was born in Pittsburgh in 1820 and graduated from the University of Vermont in 1839. Ordained to the Episcopal Church at the age of 30, he founded and edited the "Church Journal" and served as a priest in Plattsburgh, New York and Williamsport, Pennsylvania. His publications include a lengthy biography of his father, volumes of poetry and theology, and numerous hymns and carols--most notably, the "Song of the Magi," better-known as "We Three Kings of Orient Are." John Henry Hopkins, Jr. died in Hudson, New York in 1891.

Edward (Ned) Augustus Hopkins, 1822-1891, was a Midshipman in the U.S. Navy, but resigned after several instances of insubordination put his career in the Navy at risk. He was appointed Special Agent of the U.S. in Paraguay. He spent most of his life in South America promoting American exports to Paraguay, Argentina, Brazil, and other countries. He made a fortune investing in various projects, including dredging harbors, building railways, ports, drydocks, and sanitary projects. He lost his entire fortune just before his death when revolutionaries comfiscated his dredging equipment and destroyed it. He married Jeanne Elvira Arnaud, who had been married to the French Minister to Brazil, in 1858. She died in 1883. In 1888, he married Marie Antoinette von Renthel, previously married to Baron Alexander von Renthel of Russia. She outlived Edward and died in 1902.

Thomas and Caroline A. Canfield

Born in Arlington, Vermont in 1822, Thomas Hawley Canfield, Sr. was educated at Burr Seminary in Manchester, Vt., at the Troy (N.Y.) Episcopal Institute, and at Union College in Schenectady, which he left when his father died in 1840. After working three years on the family farm, Canfield moved to Williston, Vt., where he built up an extensive mercantile business and married Elizabeth Chittenden, the granddaughter of Thomas Chittenden, first Governor of Vermont. Moving to Burlington, Vt. in April, 1847, Canfield joined the wholesale mercantile and forwarding firm of Follet and Bradley, which soon became Bradley and Canfield. His wife died in 1848, childless, and he soon thereafter married Caroline Amelia Hopkins, daughter of John H. Hopkins, first Episcopal Bishop of Vermont. At this time he organized a telegraph company that connected Montreal to New York via Troy, NY and Burlington, VT. By 1850, Canfield was involved in railroad construction and lake and rail transportation between Montreal, Vermont, and New York. Among these interests were the Ogdensburgh Railroad and the Rutland and Washington Railroad, the latter of which he was president and lessee. During the Civil War he served as assistant manager of all railroad lines entering Washington from the north and east. Returning to Burlington after the war, Canfield was for a while superintendent of the Champlain Transportation Company. His most important project was probably the construction of the Northern Pacific Railroad, for which his efforts included negotiations for the initial government contract during 1865, several western explorations, and service as a director until the Company's bankruptcy in 1873. Retirement from business life continued that same year with his resignation from the Lake Superior and Puget Sound Company after twenty years of service, including several as president. By 1876, Canfield was devoting most of his time to the three thousand acre wheat farm at Lake Park, Minnesota, where he resided until his death in 1897. His farming and business interests were assumed by his son, Thomas H. Canfield, Jr. (1874-1964?), who later retired to California.

Caroline Amelia Hopkins Canfield, 1838-1907, married Thomas H. Canfield (see his specific biographical note) in 1860. Shortly after her father, John Henry Hopkins, Sr. died, Caroline ("Carrie") became the mistress of the family home at Rock Point, where she raised her family and entertained relatives and church figures. She was very involved in St. Paul's Episcopal Church, in Burlington, as well as in Diocesan activities, and served as the organist at St. Paul's for some time. She moved to Burlington in 1892. Caroline and Thomas had five children: Emily Canfield, b. May 13, 1863; John Henry Hopkins Canfield, b. January 21, 1868; Marion Canfield (Hadlock), b. September 8, 1870; Flora Canfield (Camp), b. January 11, 1873; Thomas Hawley Canfield, Jr., b. November 17, 1874.

The Canfield family is mostly represented in this collection among the correspondence, as well as some writings and diaries.

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Scope and Content Note

The Hopkins and Canfield Families Papers contain correspondence, John Henry Hopkins Sr. materials, Charles Jerome Hopkins materials, Hopkinsfolk genealogical materials, family legal records, memorabilia, music, newspaper clippings, photographs, materials about the family and church property at Rock Point in Burlington, VT, writings by various family members, and books owned by family members. These materials range in date from around 1790 to around 1960, and they document the church and other professional activities of John Henry Hopkins, Sr., the first Episcopal Bishop of Vermont, the musical activities of C. Jerome Hopkins, as well as the private and professional lives of various members of the Hopkins and Canfield families.

The correspondence, which is about 2.3 linear feet of material, contains letters to John Henry Hopkins from 1842 to 1868, some from well known contemporaries, such as George Perkins Marsh, Samuel F.B. Morse, and Joseph Wolff. Much of his correspondence is related to his duties as Bishop of the Diocese of Vermont. There is also some correspondence of John Henry Hopkins, Jr., who was a minister and hymn writer. There are many letters from family members and professional acquaintances to C. Jerome Hopkins and his wife Cicely. There are a few letters generally from or to other Hopkins family members. However, the bulk of the correspondence in this collection is between or to various members of the Canfield family, especially Caroline A. Hopkins Canfield, the Bishop's daughter who married Thomas H. Canfield, Sr., who is known as "Carrie" in most of this correspondence. There are also among these letters many written between Canfield siblings, especially between Marion and her brother Thomas, Jr. They refer to each other as "Porum", an unexplained pet name. The date range of the Canfield correspondence is 1848-1957, and topics include family life at Rock Point, farm life at the Canfield Farm in Minnesota, and the business and school activities of the various family members.

The John Henry Hopkins, Sr. materials (0.5 linear foot) are mostly his writings, including many sermons delivered between 1824 and 1853. There are also addresses, lectures, prayers, poetry, and essays. He was a musician and an architect in addition to being a minister, and a few of his architectural drawings and musical compositions are among his papers in this collection.

The Charles Jerome Hopkins materials (1.0 linear foot) document his career as a musician and popular musical educator at large in New York and London. The collection contains copies of some of his compositions, several of them printed, and printed copies of announcements of recitals and programs, as well a clippings and a scrapbook that document his performances. He was a prolific author and lecturer, and the collection contains many of his lecture texts and pamphlet drafts on a variety of musical topics.

The Hopkinsfolk materials (0.3 linear foot) include annual reports of the Hopkinsfolk Association, which included all persons descended from or related through marriage to John Henry Hopkins, Sr. The association met annually and had a Committee on Genealogy and a Committee on History and Traditions. These materials also include genealogical notes and two printed books with biographical notes on members of the extended Hopkins family.

The Legal Records (1 linear inch) contain property, estate, and court records of Canfield, Hopkins, and Muller family members.

Memorabilia (2 linear inches) contains programs, scrapbooks, drawings, ephemera, certificates, and other materials that document events and activities of family members.

The Music materials (4 linear inches) include several manuscript music notebooks of compositions or copies made by family members other than John Henry Hopkins, Sr. or C. Jerome Hopkins, whose musical materials are located among their own materials (see above). There are also some musical pieces written by members of this highly musical family.

The Newspaper Clippings (0.2 linear foot) are mostly stories that refer to a member of the Hopkins or Canfield families. Some are pasted on pages of a now un-bound scrapbook.

The Photographs (0.5 linear foot) include many portraits of individuals and groups portraying several generations of the Hopkins, Canfield, and related families. There are a few prints of drawings and photographs of Rock Point places and events, and a few photographs of the old St. Paul's Church in Burlington.

The Rock Point materials (1 linear inch) include a copy of the charter and a few other materials documenting part of the history of this property as it relates to the Hopkins family and to the Vermont Diocese of the Episcopal Church.

The Writings (0.5 linear foot) include manuscript drafts and some printed copies of writings by various members of the Hopkins or Canfield families, excepting those by John Henry Hopkins, Sr. and C. Jerome Hopkins, whose writings are among their own materials (see above). Major writings include Emily Canfield's "Account of Trip to Italy and Greece" (1902), Caspar T. Hopkins' "The California Recollections" (1946-1948), excerpts from John Henry Hopkins', III "History of the Church in Vermont", and a family journal that appears to have been kept by Melusina Muller Hopkins recording the activities of her family, entitled "Hopkins Family Record" and covering the years 1858-1861. Other writings of interest are Edward A. Hopkins published writings on Paraguay and several personal history essays by members of the Muller family.

The Books (1 linear foot) in the collection include five diaries of Thomas H. Canfield, Sr. from 1868-1893, as well as Bibles, Prayer Books, Hymnals, and printed books of music owned by various family members.

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • Episcopal Church. Diocese of Vermont.


  • Correspondence
  • Sermons

Geographic Name(s)

  • Paraguay


  • Music
  • Religion--Vermont
  • Slavery--Justification

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